After pouring over his book of spells closely and having a quick breakfast, BELLESH looks eager to go! "Are we heading back to where we were yesterday?" he calls to the others.
CALLIN will begin the morning with his prayers, eat a quick breakfast, then gear up to head to the wall.
The elves have managed to find a small stream with fresh water, so your spell was not needed - for yesterday or today.
ATACIUS munches his breakfast in silence. "Guys, since we found that structure I've had the eerie feeling that we're being watched..." he says at last.
TAKASHI considers ATACIUS' words, as he sharpens the already razor-sharp blade, remembering from whom it came and what he has dedicated it's use towards.
TAKASHI: "Then let's not keep them waiting, shall we? That would be very rude of us as visitors to this island."
BELLESH stands and straps on his backpack, but keeps looking back out at the dark forest, frowning.
GRAIAN watches Bellesh and responds to Atacius' comment "I would be surprised if we are not being watched, the questions is what by?" He stands up and gets ready for the trek.
CALLIN "We are always being watched, by the LIGHT, by the darkness, by the birds in the sky, and the animals on the ground. Being watched should not detur us from our mission, let us go introduce ourselves"
Will you go back by the route you took during the day, or in the evening?
I think the plan was to go back via the beach to the path we hacked, then enter back into the forest at that point.
Yes go back through the shorter path we created to allow more time to explore.
The trip back down the beach is peaceful, although there is a hint of a squall to the north, close to city of Ramathia itself.
You travel about the distance you thought you had come, but there is no sign of your path that you made in the trees. A solid line of trees and brush is all you see.
You ALL have the feeling you're being watched, however you would feel that.
What will you do?
GRAIAN: "I thought we had made a sufficient path that we would easily see it, but it seems that is not the case. We may have misjudged how far away we came out from the camp last night but I am sure we are in the right area. I also do not like this feeling I have of being watched, it is quite unnerving." He looks around at the others. "If the path disappears this quickly we may continuelly have trouble as we travel. I do have chalk, we can attempt to mark our way as we go."
CALLIN: "It seems as if this island is intent on keeping us out. We should keep our wits about us. GRAIAN, do you know of any magic that could erase a trail so quickly? And if so is there any way to ...." CALLIN Fumbles for the words. "...Feel it?"
BELLESH pulls his hood back from his bald head and scans along the treeline back and forth intensely, arms raised and hands poised to cast a spell at any moment. "I know there's someone watching us, but why can't we see them?"
ATACIUS: "Maybe we should ask permission to the new owners of the island..." wonders aloud the littleling.
TAKASHI? Care to weigh in? GRAIAN, want to answer CALLIN's question?
TAKASHI: "How is it possible that the path we carved out of the jungle is now gone? ATACIUS, do you think you could track our path from yesterday?"
ATACIUS: "I can try. I don't think our tracks on the beach are gone too, right? That would be insane!" He will scout ahead and try to find out trail back to where we exited the jungle.
ATACIUS, a ranger would have made this so much easier, but after some time, you find a few heel prints that match boots that some of you are wearing. There is no sign of the path you create, although you do find an occasional branch on the ground that looks like it had been hacked by a sword. The vegetation itself has grown back, with the thick brush and vines appearing as solid as when you went through them the first time.
What will you do?
ATACIUS will take one of those hacked branches and hammer it into the sand to mark the place. "I've never heard of vegetation grow back so quickly! Is there any kind of sorcery here?" he asks looking at GRAIAN and BELLESH.
"It could be..." BELLESH says thoughtfully, "I've read stories about wizards what what make the plants grow. But if it's not, that means the plants are doing it themselves..." BELLESH looks slightly sick at the thought.
TAKASHI: "Well, let's see if we can find our way back to the structure by looking for hacked branches and other vegetation."
ATACIUS will stand at the edge of the jungle, before going in, and raise his arms as he speaks: "Island of Ramathia! We come in peace and mean no harm. We plead your forgiveness for the damage caused and ask for safe passage through your jungles!"
CALLIN will kneel and pray while ATACIUS makes his plead. "May the LIGHT shine upon us as we venture into this mystical jungle, may we be guided back to our point quickly and safely. And may the Jungle know that we come as friend and not foe" Then he will rise, and proceed to enter the jungle while they make their way back to the wall.
As ATACIUS lowers his arms and CALLIN rises, four figures cautiously step forward to reveal themselves from the thick brush and trees. They are dressed, or colored, in such cunning camouflage that it takes you all by surprise!
Although camouflaged, the things they are wearing appear to be hand-made. The spears they are hefting at you, and the bows on their backs appear handmade as well, but you spot metal axes, swords and daggers strapped to their midriffs.
One speaks slowly, with some words that you don't understand. "You are (strange word) here this place. Come with us, the (strange word) to have (strane word) you."
He then looks at you all expectantly.
TAKASHI: "I suggest we follow them and assume that they are, if not friendly, at least not outwardly hostile. We only get one chance at a first impression, so let's try and make it a good one."
ATACIUS turns at his friends, his eyes big in surprise, his face a mixture of surprise and elation at the effect of his words. He then walks towards the figures showing them he has nothing in his hands.
CALLIN will put his hammer away and sling his shield to his back and step forward and bow. "I am CALLIN of the LIGHT and I will come with you willingly"
BELLESH, also surprised, takes a few steps forward and stands ready to follow behind the others, no longer on the verge of casting a spell but still alert.
GRAIAN a little taken aback pauses, looking around him not noticing anything else he follows the others.
The man speaking nods slowly as you all disarm and move forward. He puts out a hand towards the others and they raise their spears, although watching you cautiously. Two are men, two are women. They are all wearing the camouflage and little other clothing, though they have charms and small tokens in their long hair and around their necks, arms and legs.
The spokesman grunts and two of them take a position behind you and he and a woman to the front. They brush hands briefly and look at each other and she nods to him in an affirmative manner.
He motions to you to follow him and sets off.
Immediately, you can see that keeping up with them will be a problem. They bob and weave quickly through the brush, in a rapid dance. As you all push and struggle, you get the impression that the ones behind you are amused, but they are not laughing out loud. If any of you pull out swords or knives to cut your way through, the spokesperson will stop and emphatically motion for you to put the weapon away, a hard frown on his face. He waits for you to comply with the request.
ATACIUS will try to mimic their movements as we go. Do they make any sound as they go? Are they more silent than littlelings? He's amused by the whole thing.
CALLIN does his best to keep up, and honors their request to leave the jungle intact.
GRAIAN will keep up best he can, wishing he was anywhere but a jungle.
BELLESH follows awkwardly, watching ahead to see that Claudia's ok, and occasionally looking back suspiciously at the 2 following him.
TAKASHI does his best to try and keep pace, but he admits to himself that this is not the kind of terrain with which he is comfortable nor familiar. He stays close to Claudia as they continue to trek through the jungle.
ATACIUS, while they are not as naturally nimble as littlelings, they are far more superior to silent movement than even the sneakiest human that you have known. Against other humans, these folks would be silent and potentially deadly!
Claudia is using her natural abilities to keep up, but you can see that this is a challenge even for her. She looks at BELLESH and TAKASHI, smiling tentatively, with a look of trust especially to her Master TAKASHI.
In what seems like a very quick jaunt, you find yourselves at the wall. More of these humans rise up from behind the wall, armed with bows, spears and slings. The spokesman stops at the boundary formed by the walls and turns to you. He nods to several of the others, who come forward and offer you skins of water, which is refreshing after your jaunt.
Once you've recovered and have drunk, he intones something in a sing-song voice, and the others, who've formed two lines that create a path towards the structure, follow along.
"I (words, perhaps a name?) am the (strange word) of the (people?) who here are. We gather this place, on the (strange words), to (strange words) and see that (strange words). You are (strange word), you've come with (strange words ), first for many (strange word). He who (speaks?) to (strange words) will (strange words, speaks again?) with you, so that they (strange words) or no!"
He then looks at you all expectantly.
 GRAIAN will recognize an older human word for 'elves', as it was similar to a very archaic word for elf
CALLIN: looks slightly confused at the words. "I am CALLIN of the LIGHT, we do not understand all of what you say. We try our best to understand." CALLIN looks over to BELLESH and GRAIAN "Do either of you understand everything they are saying? I do not know this dialect"
BELLESH shakes his head. "I know the old tongue, and elfish, and I speak a little kobold, but I can't understand it all. It sounds like it might be a mix of things."
GRAIAN gathers his thoughts as he puts the sentence together, "Seems they recognize me as an Elf, I am the frst one for quite a while from what I gather. I think we are being invited to meet and speak with someone else."
"...or to be judged by someone else," BELLESH adds.
TAKASHI: "Better that we are talking than fighting. I would hate to see what they could do in this type of environment."
TAKASHI smiles and bows his head towards the speaker.
GRAIAN: "Yes indeed. While we should be cautious I think if they meant us real harm they could have easily done that before. Of course who knows what strange customs they may have, but they do not appear to be threatening us at this time. While not I do not understand it all their language feels somewhat familiar, it is old for sure, Wildman perhaps."
CALLIN nods "Perhaps you should be leading the conversation then GRAIAN. Best if the most capable handles the communication. I'd hate to offend anyone!" CALLIN then bows deeply to the escort.
The spokesman repeats the last part of what he said earlier: "He who (speaks?) to (strange words) will (strange words, speaks again?) with you, so that they (strange words) or no!" .., and looks at you all again, a bit impatiently.
TAKASHI: "GRAIAN, perhaps you are the best spokesperson for us, if you can figure out more of what they are saying than we can. Do your best, and we will look non-threatening."
CALLIN will let GRAIAN take the lead as he might understand more of what they are saying. "Please let our friend speak for us, as he is best suited to the task" and bows to the spokesman.
GRAIAN: "Well there are still many words I don't understand so feel free to let me know what you think they are saying too."
ATACIUS will take a step towards the speaker. "Yes! We all (he motions to the group) follow you (points at the guy) to speak (makes a gesture with his hand) with... whoever lives there (points at the ruins). Please lead us! (motions the guy to usher us)". He starts walking.
As ATACIUS starts walking forward, the spokesperson and others fall into a group of which you find yourselves surrounded by humans. You move beyond the walls and as you approach the structure, you can now see that it is indeed a tower of fairly old design. Square in construction rather than round. It looks to be three stories tall, roughly, and there are holes in the walls.
The man walks up to the door, which appears to be made out of wood, and looks to be recently constructed. Around the door are various skulls of animals and birds, carved figurines and other odd charms and fetishes. There looks to be a dried brown substance that has dried on the steps and the door frame. The spokesman holds up both hands, and the rest of the humans follow. He intones something in a sing-song voice, quickly and then lowers them. He opens the door and four of the humans follow him within. It is dim within, but the door is still open and waiting after they enter...
CALLIN will walk up to the door and extend his hands as well. "I CALLIN of the LIGHT come in peace and knowledge. May I strive to be a good guest to you and your own." He will then lower his hands after offerning his respects, and enter.
BELLESH follows behind the priest, smirking a bit. "Well, at least it shouldn't be too dark in there, what with Callin of the Light being there, and all..." he says softly.
On the way in, he'll peer down and try to figure out what that brown substance is on the steps and door frame.
ATACIUS: "Well, at least there are no humanoid skulls..." -he says looking at the offerings- "...so MAYBE they won't sacrifice us!". He nervously toys with the carved eye bone charm in his pocket.
TAKASHI glances at his surroundings, then smiles at Claudia as follows the others in he follows the others into the corridor.
TAKASHI: "Claudia, think of the stories you will be able to tell to your parents when we return. What have we found out here, that has been lost for so long?"
Claudia nods wordlessly, taking in all of the sights.
BELLESH, the brown substance seems to resemble dried blood.
CALLIN, when you do so, several of the humans look at you in amusement and say something to each other and laugh, but it seems good natured.
After entering, it takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the dark interior, but your nose picks out some distinct smells - a musky, slightly burnt odor, the powerful smell of leaves and trees and a musty, almost "old" smell.
Then your eyes take in the sight before you. A small brazier sits on the floor, smoking slightly and the burnt odor comes from that. There are many flowers and cut branches in here, with leaves and grasses woven to create a natural tapestry. Behind the brazier sits a human who looks incredibly old - his wrinkles have wrinkles and his limbs are thin and twisted a bit, but his eyes peer at you with a sharpness and clarity that seems to deeply look into you.
The spokesman approaches the sitting elder, squats before him and talks rapidly in a sing-song, deep voice. GRAIAN, you can pick out some words that resemble elven or ancient human tongue, but there are many words you don't understand. The gist of his words are to explain how the "watchers" kept an eye on the party from when they left the camp and came back to the tower! You also think that you hear them talk about "healing" but the context is hard to understand.
Once done, the elder nods and the spokesman steps to one side. The silence stretches on as the humans look at you.
Every so often, a coal seems to snap within the brazier and the smell thickens for a moment after.
ATACIUS: "So..." he says breaking the awkward silence. "...I am ATACIUS (puts him palm on his chest) and they are TAKASHI, CALLIN, GRAIAN, BELLESH and CLAUDIA (pointing at each of them as he says their names)" he adds sitting on the floor. He grabs a cold coal or stick (depending on the floor's material) and starts drawing the island and the continent. "We came to Ramathia (points the island) from Skalfier (points the continent) on elven ships (draws a sailboat), elven ships (he repeats pointing at GRAIAN, then the boat)."
The elder man watches ATACIUS carefully, studying his map and then looking at the Littleling up and down.
ATACIUS: "We came in three (puts up 3 fingers) ships (he draws two more sailboats) but lost one to a maelstrom here (draws a spiral next to the island and crosses out one ship)." He then digs in one of his satchels, takes out his island map and spread it on the floor.
CALLIN nods along with ATACIUS' description of our journey.
TAKASHI eyes the little one's attempt at diplomacy and cross cultural communication. So far, he is impressed.
GRAIAN watches and listens carefully, Atacius seems to be doing a good job, it is hard to see how much the islanders understand, but he has their attention and there seems little point in interrupting, but perhaps if there is confusion he will try and explain in Elven.
The elder looks over the littleling's maps, even taking them into his hands and showing them to the other humans who've gathered behind him.
He looks at ATACIUS and smiles, his wrinkles deepening, his few teeth brown and short peeking past his thin lips.
He gives the map back to ATACIUS and looks at him, with a look of patient curiosity and expectation.
ATACIUS smiles back out of courtesy, though deep inside he finds this a bit frustrating, but he's curious about the whole thing anyway. "We are around here (points into the island map where he thinks we are now) and we want to go here (do the walking motion with his fingers and points the city)." He looks at the old man. "What's in the city now? Who lives there?" He repeatedly points the city.
The elder smiles and answers in perfect Elven.
ATACIUS: "Ha, you understood the whole time!" the littleling claps his hands. "Hey, slow down... Does anyone...?" he turns to the rest of the group "Does anyone knows what's he saying?"
TAKASHI shakes his head slowly.
TAKASHI: "Sorry, but it is not a language that I am familiar with. Perhaps one of our book afficianados (looks at GRAIAN and BELLESH) understands him?"
BELLESH starts at hearing the Elven language so perfectly spoken. He knows that GRAIAN speaks the language much better than himself, as Bellesh learned it from books, and then only because he wanted to be able to read all the books he could find, including ones written by elves. But the elder seems to be using the words straight from what he saw in the textbooks perfectly. He silently thanks Sir Flinigan again for being so generous and bringing him so many books.
GRAIAN starts to smile as he hears the reply, "Yes my dear Atacius he understands perfectly. This is Orinu, Walker of the Seventh and the leader. He welcomes us in peace and hopes that we will stay and leave in peace too. Seems he enjoyeed your story and the maps are of great interest. We are, as we all suspected, the first visitors for a very long time. That whirlpool at the harbor entrance seems to have been around for quite awhile, I gather it was known by travellers in the past, he is sorry for the loss of our friends. He is also thankful that the loss of our ship did not waken the evil and darkness that is now in the city."
Turning to Orihu he speaks to him in Elven.
As GRAIAN speaks or Orinu, TAKASHI, you and CALLIN are subject to great scrutiny by a couple of the other humans, as they study your armor and weapons.
TAKASHI will motion towards one of the humans eyeing his armor and weapons, and invite him to look at the craftmanship. He will show them his sword and shield, if they are interested.
CALLIN will respond in like, showing his Hammers and Shield. Although at the mention of darkness in the city he turns to GRAIAN. "Can you find out more about the Darkness in the city? What they know of it?"
BELLISH, you and Claudia are subject to some looks and whispers as well, they seem curious about you two.
ATACIUS, for now, Orinu seems to have given his attention to GRAIAN, but his eyes are taking everyone in, and you get the feeling he is very aware of what is going on.
ATACIUS: "So Orinu there's an evil in the city and it is sleeping you say. What kind of evil it is? Is it a monster, like... like a dragon? I remember Apsuna mentioning them once. Or is it some sort of presence, a ghost or a spirit maybe? Do you know who serve this evil and how many are they?" the littleling throws the barrage of questions at the old man as he draws an evil looking head on the map near the city.
CALLIN: "And fighting Evil and Darkness, is something I stive to do. As a Priest of the Light, it is my duty and pleasure, to smite darkness wherever it may be!"
GRAIAN looks at Atacius as he finishes speaking, "I told Orihu that we had many questions, I think you bear testimony to my word," smiling briefly his face becomes serious again, "The evil that is here may be something different to what has been known in the past."
GRAIAN speaks to Orinu in Elven. Orinu rearranges himself as he seems to give GRAIAN's question great thought. He then speaks, but in a sing-song voice, in Elven. It lasts for some time and then he stops, looking at you all.
TAKASHI and CALLIN - at first very cautious, but soon enough, they look at your items and talk to each other in approving tones. Then, as Orinu begins his sing-song, they stop, turn and listen very carefully. Once he is done, they murmur something to themselves.
BELLESH watches Orinu, entranced as he speaks. Those that can see under BELLESH's hood will see his eyes widening from time to time in response to what Orinu is saying. Once Orinu stops and looks at us all, BELLESH finally speaks up, addressing Orinu nervously, also in Elven.
BELLESH frowns a bit as he listens to Orinu's reply, then he turns to GRAIAN and says in common, "I... don't think he answered my question. Do you think it would be safe for us to still enter the city, Graian? Since it's asleep, and we don't want to control it, anyway?"
CALLIN: when Orinu speaks, CALLIN turns like the rest and listens and does as best he can to understand. Hoping GRAIAN will jump in with translation.
GRAIAN briefly catches everyone up on the conversation, "Orinu explained that the way the world was created, essentially us and all the living creatures and plants and then the shadows, Elementals as we know them. We all learned to live in peace together, unfortnately there were those who tried to dmonate the elementals, usually nt ending well. Here was the same, there evil that is here is a great Fire Elemental that was woken by the arrival of the Dark Ones, the wizards tried to control it and failed. The enraged Fire Elemental laid the city to waste and then made its home underneath." Pausing he looks at Bellesh, "Orinu beleives we should not risk disturbing this Elemental, for if we do it may remember the rage from before and once destroy everything. He says it is not inherently evil, but angry at those that it believes are trying to control it."
BELLESH shrugs. "I asked if it would be safe for us to enter the city, since we're not wizards what are trying to control it or anything like that, but they didn't really say. They just said they're happy with their sea, the sky, and the orpo." Bellesh frowns. "What is an orpo, anyway?"
GRAIAN asks Orinu another question.
GRAIAN explains to the others, "Orinu is talking about the volcano and it seems that the wizards tried to contain the power but could not, so of course the city was destroyed. Maybe the spells backfired and caused even greater eruptions, who knows. I think we can go to the city, there is nothing for us to fear." Looking thoughtful he adds, "Well not from that."
CALLIN: "As long as we do not attempt to bother the Elements, nor impeed this creature, we should have nothing to fear. Elementals as far as I'm aware are not Evil, they think of us, as we do of insects. Small things of little consequence to us unless they try to sting or bite us. I say we explore the city, and if met with said Elemental, show it that we respect it, and it's place."
ATACIUS:"Yes, but before going into the city we need to tell the elves about these people." he says to CALLIN. "Orinu, what's the safest way to enter the city? Also, would your people guide us through the jungle in our journey?" he asks the old man.
CALLIN nods in agreement with ATACIUS.
Orinu chuckles. He answers in Elven and smiles, but then his face sobers up a bit.
Orinu then speaks Elven in a sober tone. He raises a small staff and shakes it several times in your directions. The other humans clasp their hands together over their hearts and bow to you.
GRAIAN bows to Orinu and speaks a few words to him in Elven. Talking to the party he says "Orinu has granted us safe passage in these lands, we are free to explore on our own, his people do not venture into the city. He asks that we to respect both his people and the land, no destruction or burning, leaving everything as we find it. As far as the city goes it seems there are more than memories of death," pausing "Callin your gifts and faith may be of great value to us as we may be joined by the undead."
CALLIN: "THe LIGHT is always ready to shun the darkness" CALLIN says proudly.
After Orinu speaks and the other humans bow, BELLESH lets out a relieved breath and pulls back his hood, stepping forward to speak to Orinu in Elven. He ends by trying to bow as they did, with his hands over his heart.
After GRAIAN and CALLIN speak, he chimes in, "I just promised not to hurt the jungle, I like that we can go where we want! He said we can go into the city too, but it sounds dangerous... Besides the undead Graian talked about, Orinu also said something about the 'Fire' being there, and its 'children'."
ATACIUS: "GRAIAN you need to tell all this to Shaiman. Is your people ready to pay the price it will take to have your island back? If you wake up this... this fire, maybe there will be nothing for your people to go back to!"
GRAIAN nods slowly, "Yes we should indeed let the others know, but perhaps first we can find our way to the city and learn a little more first." a moment lateer he adds "Of course we do have the problem of moving through this land without damaging anything, we are not as nimble as Orinu and his people."
BELLESH: "Why don't we ask them the best way to get there, so we don't have to go through the dense jungle?"
GRAIAN looks at Belllesh for a moment then turns to Orinu and speaks to him
GRAIAN tells everyone the answer, "Looks like it is either through the forests or round by sea, given the whirlpool in the harbor that does not seem practical."
CALLIN: "I prefer my feet on the earth vs the deck of a boat over the sea, if I have an option" CALLIN agrees
Waiting to see what you guys want to do next? Go talk to Shaimain, or press on through the forest to the city?
CALLIN: GRAIAN mentioned we should explore the city a bit first. I trust him more than the other elves, so CALLIN is ready to go to the city.
TAKASHI: "GRAIAN, I worry about the elves stumbling upon the residents of the island, and what might happen in our absense. While I am as anxious to visit the city as you are, do you think this course of action is best? I will agree with whatever the party decides."
GRAIAN: "Takashi, wise words. You are right, the others may come wandering and that might have unforunate consequences. We should return to the camp and let them know about these people."
ATACIUS nods approvingly at TAKASHI and GRAIAN words.
CALLIN: "Alright, let's go speak with the Elves and report our findings. It may take us a bit to navigate back through the brush anyway."
BELLESH nods and puts his hood back over his head, and heads out the door.